Pretty In Bronze

Friday, June 18, 2021

My IUD Experience - 1.5 Months Post-Insertion
June 18, 20210 Comments

On April 22nd, 2021 I had my first ever IUD insertion. This was a big deal for me since I've been on the birth control pill since I was fifteen years old, back in late 2010.  I'll give you a backstory, which will go into the reasons why I opted to get an IUD and go off the pill.

Public Domain image: By Wikipedia user User: Hic et nunc

My birth control pill backstory

I didn't go on the pill because I was sexually active or needed to help calm period pains, but because I had really bad back acne AKA bacne. It was all over my back and shoulders and it was big and painful and nothing else worked. My mom didn't want me going on the pill because she thought that would make me sexually active, even though I knew I was too young (in my opinion) and no boy or girl that I would've found cute would've wanted to date me at the time. Once I convinced my mother that I wouldn't be making her a grandmother before the age of fifty, I filled the prescription for Alesse and maybe missed two pills for the next five years.

Birth control magically cleared my acne up within six months. I did get a normal breakout on my face from time to time, but my back was clear, aside from all of the excess body hair I have. But I still looked cuter without the giant pimples all over the place. For years I took the pill within minutes of my nine o'clock PM timer, and continued doing so into University where I did become sexually active. I never experienced side effects (that I knew of at the time) and my period was super regular and fairly light. I didn't even have cramps.

Fast forward several years and I was graduated from university and working in my first full time position that gave me benefits so I no longer had to pay out of pocket for my birth control pills. I noticed that I had started breaking out on my face more frequently and after doing some online research, I learned that the areas of the breakouts were associated with hormones. I went back to the doctor and they recommended a stronger pill, so for the first time ever, I changed brands to Tricera-lo. It seemed to work well for a few months, but when I started experiencing cramping and my libido took more of a hit than it had in my second year of uni, I became concerned. Fast forward a few years with the problem persisting, and several blood tests later, and I was on a waitlist for a specialist that took an entire year to get an appointment with.

Why I stopped birth control pills

I'd always assumed that if a medication was going to cause side-effects, that it would do it from the beginning. I never thought that birth control that I'd been taking for almost six years would suddenly affect my libido and energy levels. I only learned this a few months ago when I finally met with an ObGyn who specialist in sex drive. He took an interest in me quickly because I'm only twenty-five years old and the first thing he said to me was: "You're on birth control pills, right?" Fifteen minutes later he prescribed me an IUD and faxed me a blood test to check pretty much everything that can possibly be checked with a blood test, and had my insertion appointment booked.

IUD Insertion and reaction

I was told to take two pain killers about an hour prior to the IUD insertion, which I did (except I only took one ibuprofen since it was 400mg). I had my husband drive to my appointment since that was also a recommendation as some women can become dizzy or feel sick. I was a bit nervous because I'd seen so many videos of people saying it was terrible, or from those who reacted very poorly. I figured it would be worse than getting a pap smear, which isn't the worst thing, but it does cause discomfort for me as my cervix is tilted, which means it causes some trouble to get in there properly.

I checked in, removed my pants and underwear, and awkwardly waited below the medical exam paper for my doctor to show up. I was a little weirded out because not only is my ObGyn a man, he's also quite old and resembles Danny Devito under the mask. I ended up being super impressed at how quick and painless the insertion was. The doc knows what he's doing and explained to me that a pap smear or IUD insertion should never hurt or be very uncomfortable, which was shocking to me after hearing the majority of people online and in real life saying it was the worst pain they'd experienced. I felt no pain and it was at least three times less uncomfortable than the pap smears I'd gotten at my family doctors office.

After insertion I went over my blood work with the doctor and learned I'm extremely deficient in vitamin D and Iron, so we created a plan for that, but the doc explained that my libido should be back within three months and I would likely start noticing its return through my dreams. Apparently that's the most common reaction to a dormant libido waking up from a long slumber.

I asked the doc about what I could and couldn't do and he said that after a few days I should be fine to resume sexual activity, but I could pretty much do everything as normal right away except for exercising if I did end up cramping as it isn't the normal period cramping.

I did end up cramping on the drive back home, so I was grateful that my husband took a half-day to go with me. It got worse and I ended up taking a two hour nap in a position that didn't make everything hurt.  I only waited two days to resume sexual activity, but should've probably waited a few more as I did end up cramping all over again after the deed was done, but it wasn't nearly as bad. I still get a mild pain on the left side (near my hipbone) after sex, but it's been less and less each time.

Up until May 10th I was still spotting.  The week before the 10th I suddenly started cramping like I would prior to my period starting. Of course on the morning of May 10th my period started, lasting ten full days. It wasn't ideal and I was worried that it'd stick around forever, but once it ended, I was no longer spotting and could start wearing my cuter underwear again without fear of ruining them. According to the doc and most resources online, it can take up to three months to stop spotting, six months in very rare cases. Thankfully mine was less than a month, including the slightly early period. HOWEVER, I did end up being one of the 10% of individuals who experience prolonged periods after IUD insertion. Apparently this should stop after three months, but I'm on day 16 of my second period post-insertion and I'm getting a little annoyed at it. I will update after three months have gone by.

Some side-effects I've experienced from going off the pill, not necessarily from the IUD, include:
  • A few acne spots on my back, along with the recurring pimples on my chin, but that seems to have calmed down.
  • Body odour. This may sound normal, but I'm one of the rare humans that don't produce B.O. I'm talking hours of rollerskating with super sweaty feet and if you were to smell my wet socks, you wouldn't smell anything other than the smell of detergent and my shoes. I'm not even exaggerating, it's a real thing. A few weeks after going off of the pill, I started having smelly underarms, but thankfully that went away after my first period was over and hasn't returned since.
  • Terribly period cramps before and during my first period, including extreme (for me) bloating. I did a blog post where I tried on crop tops I ordered and the difference from one day to the next is very noticeable. Thankfully, that's also gone away.
  • Early first period. I don't know if this is from the IUD, from going off the pill or from getting my first vaccine only one week after insertion (it's known to affect the menstrual cycle), but my period was over one week early, and painful as per my previous point.

At the time of writing this on June 16th, I'm still on my second period on day sixteen, as mentioned before. It was very light every day and I had minimal cramping and bloating, which makes me really happy. Of course I'm annoyed that I'm one of the unlucky 20%, but I'm holding out hope that once three months go by, I'll go back to a regular length period, or even better, no period at all. I'm still less than two-months out from the insertion so things might still change, but I'm probably going to do an update post at some point, perhaps three or six months, to let you know if anything else has changed.

See you soon!

Friday, June 04, 2021

How my Six-Week Dark Spot Routine Performed
June 04, 20210 Comments
 Hello and welcome back!

I can't believe it's already been six weeks, but here we are. My skincare routine for fading dark spots post explained that I wanted to was target my dark spots and acne scars and make them fade as much as possible by sticking to the routine for an entire six-week period. This is the most consistent I've ever been with a skincare routine in terms of doing it every single day in the morning and at night. I wasn't even this good for my wedding, which is a little confusing for me, but I also didn't have the dark spots back then.

I was really good about following the routine every single day, except for May 4th where I missed both routines, but still applied sunscreen. There were other speed-bumps in the way, such as stopping birth control and getting an IUD, which I will write about in the near future, so my hormones were, and still are, on a rollercoaster ride. My chin area has been getting a new pimple friend every few days, which means new dark spots are being left behind, however, those small spots seem to be fading much quicker and I really think it's thanks to some of these products. I do have a big pimple on my chin, which is pretty visible in the after photos. If you pay attention to the original dark spots, you'll clearly see how much lighter they've gotten, though not completely gone, which I'm really hoping will change in the upcoming months.

I do feel like this routine made a big difference and will show you comparison pictures. In the six-week photos, my face is a bit red from just having gotten out of the shower, so keep that in mind. However, when I'm not freshly out of the shower or back from a workout, the redness on my face has pretty much stayed the same as it was at the start of this routine.

I feel like the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% made the biggest difference for fading the dark spots and will continue using it in conjunction with the Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer and whatever moisturizers I have when I need something more. I'll keep using the Divine Essence Rosehip Oil at night since it is supposed to be good for irritation and eczema-prone skin. Unfortunately, I don't think the Azelaic Acid suspension 10% helped as much, especially when it came to my nose eczema spot, which appears to have stayed the exact same, even looking in the mirror now when my face is completely dry. I will probably continue using it every few days until it runs out, but I don't think I'll be repurchasing, at least not for a while.

I'll sign off now and leave you with the comparison pictures so you can see the results for yourself. Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you soon!

April 18th: Full face

May 29th: Full face

April 18th: Chin (right side)

May 29th: Chin (right side)

April 18: Chin (left side)

April 18th: Nose
May 29th: Chin (left side)

May 29th: Nose
May 29th: Forehead
April 18th: Forehe

Friday, May 21, 2021

My Simple 'Zoom' Makeup
May 21, 20210 Comments

Makeup isn't something I was worried about for the longest time when the pandemic first hit. I think I went an entire quarter without even putting so much as mascara or brow gel on. The company I work for made it a point to minimize meetings in order to avoid "zoom fatigue" so I was rarely seeing others online, so it never crossed my mind that I might want to look presentable during the work day. By presentable I don't necessarily mean makeup, but more so not having a really messy birds nest on the top of my head with PJ's that I'd been wearing for a week straight.

Several months into the pandemic, the realization hit that we'd be working like this for a long time, so everyone slowly started creating new routines and looking like humans on video calls, with the number of video meetings going up. One year in now, I have a really quick and easy routine that works well with the low quality webcam so I can look really good on camera without having to put much effort in. Some of the links in this post will be affiliate links.

The webcam in general blurs my skin because it is such low quality (you'd think for the price of a MacBook that they'd be great), but on Zoom specifically, I have the beauty feature enabled, which smooths everything out a little bit. Those features make my brows look a lot lighter, as well as my eyelashes and lips, so that's where I focus. This is the makeup I've been doing whenever I have slightly more important meetings, without the potato quality camera from my work computer:

The first picture shows what I look like with the lighting I utilize with zoom calls. The second picture is with my phone flash, which I never use at work, but does show the concealer marks more clearly.

Brows are my priority. I'll mainly opt for my Essence Make me Brow Gel since my brows are fairly decent on their own and the fibres to make them look a little bit fuller. If it's something very important, I'll first go in with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade to make me look extra put together. I use the smallest amount of product, but it makes all the difference.

Concealer is the next thing I go for because my under eye area will forever be darker and I also like to spot-conceal my darkest acne scars (which I'm in the process of trying to fade as much as possible, check out my last skincare routine post for more info). Since the webcam helps with some blurring, I don't use my full coverage concealers and instead opt for my Revlon Photoready Candid Antioxidant concealers, mixing colours 015 and 020, which are both warmer (yellow) toned. This is my new favourite drugstore concealer and it's super easy to blend with my fingers or a brush, which is a big deal because getting my beauty blender wet and having to wash it is just too much work.

Mascara is my third priority, which may seem weird, but for that I'll use whatever mascara is open at the moment. I ran out of my last lash paradise (my favourite) and just started using the Almay Liquid Lash Extender mascara, which I'm not sure if I love it or hate it just yet. I do like my Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara for my bottom lashes since it doesn't smudge, the wand is small enough to not make a mess and it's easy to remove.

Finally, lips. I avoid lip products as much as possible because if we go out after work for something, I'll absolutely destroy my mask. I'm also no longer used to the feeling of a lipstick or lipgloss on my lips, so when I pulled out my NYX Lip Lingerie in “Push-Up”, I was really happy to see how good it looks on camera and how thin it feels. I often times forget I have it on at all and once it's been on for a while, it doesn't transfer to my mask. I'm honestly surprised liquid lipsticks haven't made a comeback because of the pandemic. This is definitely my favourite formula for what I own because it is so light on the lips and it's easy to take off when you want to.

Those are all of the products I focus on for meetings. Once in a while if I have a big meeting, like interviewing candidates or presenting to important stakeholders high up in the company, I'll do a few extra steps, so I'll quickly list those below.

In real life the makeup won't look heavy since I'm going for sheer options and no foundation. Of course doing my hair look nice, either having it straight and brushed, or reviving my natural curls with some water and conditioning products, makes a huge difference and for my more casual meetings, that's all I'll really do.

Let me know if you have any recommendations for 'Zoom Makeup' that are easy to put on and remove. I'm really liking this little routine right now and can see me sticking to it even once I'm back in the office since my skin has been a bit nicer without foundation, but we'll see what happens once things start going back to normal.

I'll be back next week with my review and results of my six-week skincare routine for trying to fade my spots!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Forever 21 Canada Crop Top Haul + Try On
May 14, 20210 Comments

If you're in Canada and reading this, I'm sure you know that Forever 21 shut down all of their physical stores few years back and no longer shipped to Canada either, which was very sad for many people including myself. I loved buying undershirts from there, but I also used to buy a lot of tops and dresses in my university years.

A few months ago I got an email from Forever 21 letting me know that they had a new website specifically for Canadians! The re-opening sale was really good, but everything was sold out in my size because everyone was so excited that they were back. I decided to wait, especially because my entertainment budget is super strict and not very large, so I could get a decent amount of clothing that I'd been needing. Fast forward to April and I found myself scrolling around on Dynamite's website (my favourite clothing brand) after some targeted Instagram ads got the better of me. Everything was so cute, but after years of pretty much exclusively buying clothes second-hand, I couldn't stomach the price. A lightbulb then went off in my head and I remembered that Forever 21 was back so I switched to their website and was pleasantly surprised to see that they were not only having a sale, but I'd get an additional 10% off by signing up with my cell number (I haven't received any texts since the promotion code).

I needed shirts, specifically crop tops that work well with high waisted pants. I don't have many crop tops, probably three that I've collected during the last decade, so I figured it'd be a good idea to buy a bunch in my colour scheme (pastels, white, black and grey) since that's pretty much all I wear. Here's everything I bought! (I took these photos a few days apart, but due to my beloved monthly visitor, I was very bloated for the indoor photos).

I went back and forth with this one because it was difficult to settle on the colour. Originally I wanted multiple, but ultimately decided to just pick the colour Rose, in a size Small, since this is the shortest crop top of the bunch (and with a scoop neckline), which means I won't wear it nearly as much as all of the other tops I ordered. I can see myself wearing this when I want to get my tan on, but I'm not wearing a bathing suit. I don't think I'd wear this with shorts since I don't own many that are high-waisted, but I can see myself pairing this with a high-waisted skirt from time to time. It's also a great option for wearing around the house since I don't like to wear my pajamas throughout the day. This is available in a few other colours, including grey, white and a weird shade of green.

I purchased this in White and Black. I've only ever owned one bralette and I don't even have it with me in my temporary living situation, but it's also a shade of pink that I don't really love and won't work as a shirt on its own. I got both of these in an XS/S (Extra Small / Small) because I'm pretty flat and the only other size was the Medium/Large so it was really my only option anyway. These are pretty stretchy, but also thick and feel higher quality, so I can wear the black one on its own without it being super obvious that I'm not wearing a bra underneath, however, the white one is a lot more obvious. The back has lace detailing, as well as along the top boarder, so this will look really cute under shirts or dresses that show those areas off. I'm very impressed with this top, so I'm now tempted to pick up the last colour available, pink (the same Rose colour as one of the shirts mentioned later in this post) if I end up making another order in the future. Hopefully it's still available if I do!

Cropped Tank Top (Semi-cropped hem)

I got this one in the colour Heather Grey in a size Small. I liked the look of this because of the high neck cut and the deeper cut in the armpit area since I'm pretty sweaty (not stinky though, thankfully) while it's more of a ribbed material (think early 200's racer-back tank tops). There's also some subtle detailing on the shirt that is pretty flattering. The material is also thicker than some of the other crop tops I picked, which is ideal since I can also wear this without a bra sometimes, specifically when I go swimming once my bathing suit is wet so I don't have to bring a bra with me and make changing even more of a hassle. Since this one is thicker, I do prefer it with sweats or pants that aren't tight the way leggings are. It's also a bit long for the high waisted leggings to look good with it since my ribcage and hip bones are barely two inches apart. Other available colours in this style include pink, black and white.

Cropped Tank Top (Cropped hem)

Last, but not least, I picked up two of these in size Small, one being the colour Sage and the other being Lilac. The Forever 21 Canada website unfortunately doesn't give unique names to their styles, so I've linked directly to them to make it easier. The material of these is definitely thinner, but I could tell from the photos online and it's what I wanted. I'll 100% have to wear a bra with these, but because they're thin they'll be pretty comfortable when it's hot out, even though they're on the longer side of being crop tops. I love pastel colours and have been having an obsession with pastel purples lately so I knew I had to pick this one up, but I also realized that while I have a lot of green in my wardrobe, I only had one other light green shirt so I figured I'd get the Sage colour as well since the pink option was too light and resembled the white option, and I'd already picked up the black bralette so that's more than enough since I stick to lighter colours in the summer.

All in all I'm impressed with the shirts I ordered and I'm definitely ok with the price they came out to (with taxes and shipping I paid $60 CAD). I will say that there's not nearly as large of a selection on the Canadian website, and from what I saw, the options available in the main section of the site aren't available in the plus-sized section of the website and vice versa, so you will have to specifically shop in the section according to your size. While I definitely prefer shopping for clothes second-hand, especially because I'm not really good with fashion and hate spending money on clothes, this seems to be the most affordable option while I'm not able to safely go into physical stores. I'm just making it a point to buy pretty basic options that I can wear for years on end, like I do with all of my clothes.

Have you ordered from the new Forever 21 Canada website? Let me know your thoughts and if there's something I should consider getting as a tall flat-chested girl with a large behind.

I'll see you soon with a new post!

Friday, May 07, 2021

Fairywill Water Flosser and Electric Toothbrush Review
May 07, 20210 Comments

Welcome back to a new review! This is, in my opinion, an exciting review because I've gone years with my dentist begging me to buy both of these items, but I recently (finally) in early March purchased an electric toothbrush and water flosser. I've always been hesitant because they're normally so expensive, especially if you want a cute one, which of course I did so I kept pushing it off for years.

Due to the pandemic, I haven't seen my dentist in over one year (closer to one year and a half). This is very bad because I'm the patient that always has at least one cavity, despite visiting every six months. For some reason my teeth don't hold the fillings well so they always break and expose my teeth to cavities. I've been worried since it's been so long, so I finally started researching what the best electric toothbrushes are on the market, while still hoping for a cute pink one, and discovered Fairywill.

Originally I discovered their pink toothbrushes and was very close to buying them after reading the amazing reviews, but when I saw the water flosser set, I knew I had to get it. I have permanent retainers, which makes flossing almost impossible (even the dentist has a hard time), which is why he's always recommended me to buy one of these. I immediately ordered the Eight piece set after confirming it had the features of the super expensive tooth brushes and it arrived within two days, despite not having Amazon Prime.

I'll start with the toothbrush itself since that was the most important part of my purchase. The toothbrush included in this set is the D7 Series Electric Toothbrush. Fairywill has a chart that compares the different toothbrush models on the product page, and this one appears to be the runner up to the strongest model, their Pro Series. 

Main Toothbrush Features
  • Five brushing modes
  • Sonic cleaning
  • Automatic timer 
  • Waterproof
  • Great battery life
  • Low battery reminder
  • USB charging with auto shut-off
  • Four brush heads included
  • Brushes have blue replacement bristles 
  • Brush head cover with ventilation

The five brushing modes include: 
White: The strongest, consistent pulse brushing mode. This is what I use every time I brush.
Clean: Not as strong, consistent pulse every day mode, more suitable for those with sensitive gums.
Polish: ?
Massage: Inconsistent pulse brushing mode meant to help massage the gums. I have used this a few times when my gums were feeling sensitive due to the water flosser.

Charge: Low battery warning will light up once the brush is running out of battery life. I used this brush every day, three times a day, for nearly a month and a half before having to charge it (after the initial charge when I first received it).

I really love this toothbrush. It works really well, it's easy to use and clean and it's really pretty to look at. It's surprisingly light weight, which makes it great for travelling. My teeth felt much cleaner after the first use and when I tried using my old manual toothbrush for my mid-day brush (yes, I brush my teeth after every meal) I was unimpressed and brushed them again with this toothbrush. This has the same technology as the toothbrushes you'd pay $200 for, all while being really cute and affordable, with the ability to purchase replacement brush heads in bulk when needed. It's water proof, making it easy to clean, and it charges very quickly without needing a bulky charging station. It's also nice that I can't mix this up with my husbands boring white, bulky electric toothbrush. I love the rose gold ring around the power button too. I'm sure enough my husband will decide to upgrade, at which point I'll give him this one and will purchase the pink version of this same brush (I'll take the brush head from this one to place on my future new one, of course).

Now onto the Water Flosser. I've never used one of these before, with the closest thing being the water hose used at the dentist. I was pretty scared at first since it'd been over a year since going to the dentist, and quite honestly, since I attempted flossing. I knew my gums were going to hate me, so I was grateful to see the different settings.

Main Water Flosser Features
  • Three floss modes
  • Waterproof
  • Also a great battery life
  • USB charging as well!
  • Four water nozzle heads included

The three flossing modes include:
Clean: This is the strongest mode and I highly recommend not starting with this one.
Soft: This is the softest mode and what I use each time and recommend starting with.
Massage: I've used this a few times. It appears to be a mix between the first two settings, so it's good for transitioning to the Clean mode after getting used to Soft.

This thing is very effective at removing anything from your gums or around a permanent retainer. I was always sceptical as to how a water flosser would do that, but this thing is so much stronger than I thought it would be. As I mentioned above, I recommend starting with the Soft mode unless you're already a really good and consistent flosser. Most people I know definitely aren't. The Soft mode is still pretty strong made my and my husbands gums bleed the first time we tried it. My husband also has permanent retainers, so I'm not surprised about that. I use this every few days and my gums have definitely gotten stronger over the last month and a bit. My husband has upgraded to using the massage mode, which is basically the in-between setting. Even if my gums become super strong, I don't see myself needing to use the Clean mode, unless I get something really stuck in my gums, like popcorn. I do highly recommend this as well.

The only negative I've seen so far with the flosser is that you have to properly air it out. While the instructions say you don't have to unless you're going long periods of time without using it, we noticed that it was getting gross so we now open the drain tab at the back and open up the components so it can 100% dry (including turning it on briefly without water in the tank to clear out the hose). Once we started doing that, we haven't had any issues. 

If you're on the market for a new electric toothbrush, a water flosser, or both, I highly recommend this set and each separate individual component of it. You can buy the toothbrush on its own, as well as the water flosser, so it's very customizable. This particular set comes in white as well, but the toothbrush on its own comes in pink. Fairywill has lots of dental products in their Amazon store, so check them out because they all have amazing ratings and are very affordable compared to what you can get in stores.

I hope you've enjoyed this random review. Let me know if you end up trying these or any other products from Fairywill.

Sneaky self-promo: If you like Fantasy and even Romance novels, my newest novel is available for pre-order, available on May 9th. Check it out here!

See you soon!